Launched today, the New Energy Tech Consumer Code (NETCC) program seeks to raise consumer protection standards in Australia for purchases of new energy tech, including rooftop solar, battery storage, EV chargers, home energy management systems and more.
Australia is a world leader in small-scale renewable energy generation, with over 3 million rooftop solar systems providing over 8 per cent of the country’s electricity needs, with much more growth anticipated. Emerging technologies, including microgrids, virtual power plants and community batteries, offer households and businesses new ways to reduce energy bills and emissions.
Besides being a large and growing industry, new energy tech provides an essential service, is highvalue and employs technologies that sometimes need to be better understood. It is vitally important, therefore, that consumers are well protected in this market.
The NETCC is a voluntary code of conduct designed by peak industry and consumer bodies to build upon existing mandatory consumer protection regulations defined by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Retailers can apply to the program, demonstrate they meet the NETCC requirements and become New Energy Tech Approved Sellers, showing customers they are established businesses committed to consumer protection standards, including fair and honest quotes, ethical sales practices and after-sales customer service
.The NETCC program replaces the Approved Solar Retailer program to expand the coverage of consumer protections beyond solar and storage. Under the Approved Solar Retailer program, retail standards in the sector have been improving – the Australian Communications and Media Authority, for example, has seen solar telemarketing complaints reduced by half since 2018-19, while Solar Victoria has seen rising levels of consumer satisfaction. The NETCC program aims to build on this success and ensure more Australian homes and businesses can access clean, affordable, new energy tech from trusted companies.
The NETCC program is designed and governed by the NETCC Council, comprised of peak industry and consumer bodies, namely the Australian Energy Council, the Clean Energy Council, the Consumer Action Law Centre, Energy Consumers Australia, Energy Networks Australia, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and Renew. It is administered by the Clean Energy Council.
Chair of the NETCC Council, Clare Petre, said that while it can be a challenge for consumers to navigate the expanding array of new energy tech products and services, the NETCC program will help:”The new Code will provide consumers with a wide range of information in advance of purchases and empower providers to achieve the highest standards of service and consumer protection. The Code will be key in supporting consumers as they embrace new energy tech as part of a renewable energy future.”